After a distinguished 29-year British Council career which took him to Baghdad, Rome, Brussels, Ottawa and Rabat, Martin is an experienced cultural relations professional and theorist. Now retained by the Council as a senior adviser, he is also a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for Islamic Studies. He writes widely (he has just published There and Back by Candle-Light, an account of his experiences in Baghdad before and during the Gulf War of 1990); and he consults and writes on issues in education in the Middle East, cultural relations, cultural preservation, radicalisation and other related subjects. With an academic background in the Middle East (M Phil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford), Martin is a seasoned thinker and contributor across a wide spectrum of activity. He blogs as Mercurius Maghrebensis.
A very touching and beautifully-observed piece in the TLS this week, by Louise Callaghan of the Sunday Times, about the liability that books can become in a fast-changing political climate. “If you want to know a city’s secrets,” she begins, “ask the bin-man.” Talking in Istanbul to Ahmet the Kurdish bin-man, she discovers that people … More The wind leafed through them: ask the bin-man